Who will cover my medical bills? Can I sue the rental company and car company because our seat belts did not lock and airbags did not go off?

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Who will cover my medical bills? Can I sue the rental company and car company because our seat belts did not lock and airbags did not go off?

I was on vacation in Canada on January 3rd when I was in a car accident. I was
going straight during a green light at an intersection and a car in the opposite
direction did not yield and made a left turn into the car. He hit our car when we
were already merging into the street. I filed a police report, started a claim with
my credit card for the car insurance, and have emailed the Canadian car
insurance to ask for more details of the report. No one has contacted me and I
would like to know if I can get my medical bills covered under the other driver’s
insurance. I had a passenger in the car as well who would like to do the same.

Asked on January 15, 2019 under Accident Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

1) You (or your passenger) can submit a claim to the other driver's inurance and they may cover it, but bear in mind they do not have to do so unless you were to sue their driver and win. Only a successful lawsuit compels the other side and/or their insurer to pay; payments or settlements made without a court judgment in your favor are voluntary. The insurer may choose to pay if deems paying more cost effective than refusing to pay, then potentially having to defend their driver against a lawsuit and possibly losing and then having to pay anyway. Or if they deem your case weak or that you are unlikely to actually sue, they may very well refuse to offer anything.
2) You can sue the other driver if he was at fault, as appears to be the case based on what you write.
3) You can potentially sue the rental car copany and/or car company if the seat belt and/or air bag was defectively designed, manufactured, or maintained and that contributed to your injuries. Bear in mind that such a product liability lawsuit will require hiring a seat belt or airbag expert (such as an engineer who designs them or investigates their failure) to prove the defect, etc.


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